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Afghan official killed in capital by unknown gunmen

March 08, 2020 - 3:17 AM

KABUL - An Afghan provincial council member and two of his bodyguards were killed by gunmen on Sunday in the capital of Kabul, officials said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. But it came just days after the Islamic State group killed at least 32 people at a ceremony in Kabul attended by prominent political leaders.

The gunmen opened fire on Naser Ghairat's vehicle and also wounded his driver, according to Ferdaws Faramrez, spokesman for Kabul's police chief.

Ghairat was a councilman from Logar province, which lies just to the south of the capital. Many provincial council members have homes or even keep their families in Kabul. Provincial councils typically have a dozen or more members based on their population, and include both men and women.

Afghan officials also confirmed Sunday that unknown gunmen had killed at least seven civilians and wounded 17 others in the western Herat province. The attack took place early Saturday, according to Jailani Farhad, spokesman for Herat's governor. Again, no one claimed responsibility for that attack.

Friday's attack on the ceremony in Kabul came less than a week after the U.S. and Afghanistan's Taliban insurgents signed an ambitious peace deal that lays out a path for the withdrawal of American forces from the country. The Taliban have said they were not involved in Friday's attack.

Any U.S. troop pullout from Afghanistan would be tied in part to promises by the Taliban to fight terrorism and the Islamic State group. The Taliban have been fighting IS militants in their headquarters in eastern Afghanistan.

During any withdrawal, the U.S. would retain the right to continue its counter-terrorism operations in the country.

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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